My Blog Site Is Now On My Website!

Hey Friends,

In case you're wondering why I haven't posted here in a while, it's because we've moved my blog site to my website! Check it out at: www.susielarson.com

I still post every Wednesday. I'd love to hear from you!

Peace in Christ to you!

Susie

February 15, 2012

The Key to Forward-Moving Faith: Waiting on the Lord...

Happy Wednesday Friends!

Sunpeek

And to those visiting, I say welcome! Susie Larson here...

I post every Wednesday and my sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way. This month I'm giving away a couple of surprise books from our Faith Radio shelf to someone who posts on my blog, and shares a show with a friend. Here's how it works: Go to the Live the Promise page, pick a show you'd like to share with a friend, and with a click of a button you can send to them via Facebook, email, or Twitter. Then, just let me know which show you've shared by emailing me at: Susie@FaithRadioNet.com. Like to read? We've got some fun books to give away!

Joanna Weaver is my guest on today's show. Let me tell you, she's a precious friend and I absolutely love this girl! We'll talk about her book, "Lazarus Awakening" and how to embrace faith while living in the tension of a heart's desire and an unanswered prayer. If you're not able to listen to the live show, the podcast will be up minutes after the show ends. This would be a great show to share with a friend. Joanna is always a fabulous guest.

Now on to my topic...

Has God put a promise in your heart? Is He leading you some place new and out of your realm of comfort and control? I pray you'll follow Him there. But first, wait on Him. Get your marching orders from Him. Seek wise counsel and confirmation from His Word. Wait to hear the word of the Lord, and then, go on and take the new land.

But here's something important you and I must remember: Every time God offers to give us something, the enemy threatens to take it from us. When God plants seeds in the soil of our hearts, it's the enemy's desire to snatch them up again. When God leads us to lay hold of a promised land, it's the enemy's desire to bully us and oppose us so we'll turn around, thinking we heard God all wrong.

So what's a person to do?

We remember the Word of the Lord! 

God loves us and knows how to communicate with us in a way we'll understand. So if during the waiting season, you know you've heard from God  because He spoke something deep into your heart and confirmed it in His Word, then hang on to it with bulldog faith. Because right on the heels of the Lord will be that enemy to throw shadows of doubt over your day. He's hoping to find an opening of unbelief by asking you what he asked Eve, "Did God really say...Are you sure of that?" 

I asked God how I was supposed to win this predictable yet daunting battle with the enemy, every time I stepped out to do something new and His answer blessed me so. He said, "Remember in the darkness what I told you in the light. Hang on to my Word with all your might. Submit your plans to me. Resist the enemy's taunts; don't take his bait; eventually he will have to flee from you."

I pray this encourages you as well. 

It's always wise to wait first on God. Wait on Him. Give Him time and room to speak into your life. His plans for you are far greater that your plans for your own life. Wait on Him, you'll hear Him eventually. Then, you'll have all you need to face down your giants of fear and march through enemy territory, that you might take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of you.

Remember the words He has spoken to you!

Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him (Isaiah 64:4)

Have a blessed, bold, and faith-filled week. 

~Until Next Week.

February 01, 2012

He Works While You Rest...

Night PhotoHappy Wednesday, Friends!

And to those visiting, I say welcome! Susie Larson here...

I post every Wednesday and my sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way. Each month I give away a $10.00 Starbucks gift card to someone who posts on my blog. So leave a comment, share an insight, bless lots of folks, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and a friend.

It's time to announce the winner for January. Drum roll please...

Kathy Miller, congratulations! Email me at: info@susielarson.com with your mailing address and I'll get your gift card in the mail to you. Thanks everyone for posting on my blog!

Now on to my topic...

I've been working my way through the Gospel of Mark and something caught my attention recently. Read this little passage:

Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. (verses 26-27)

The seed represents the Word of God. When seed is planted in good soil, it produces a great harvest. To have good soil in your heart is to have a great atmosphere for growth. If you look at the previous paragraphs in Mark chapter four, you'll notice that Jesus addresses the different reasons the Word doesn't take root:

  • Seed on the footpath (and unguarded heart) ~ Satan comes and takes it away
  • Seed on the rocky soil (no spiritual depth) ~ Troubles come and they fall away
  • Seed among the thorns (distracted by worries, enticed by riches) ~ The lesser life makes them lose their way

And yet, when seed is planted in good soil, a miracle of multiplication takes place! Great soil yeilds sometimes thirty, sometimes sixty, and sometimes even one hundred times as much as was planted!

When we plant seeds of God's Word into the lives of others, and we don't see a result at first, we must not lose heart. When we plant seeds of faith for God to move mightily in our midst, and then we water them with the Word of God and the promise of His faithfulness, we can rest in God and trust the growth process to Him.

When we hold on to faith, we don't have to keep digging up the soil.

The striver struggles with the unseen process, can't quite accept that most change at first happens beneath the surface. But the one who rests in the knowledge who trusts God is who He says He is, they know that God can bring forth life from the smallest faith seed. They know that in due time, life will push through the soil, and reveal itself to a watching world.

There's something so powerful about a heart at rest, a heart set fully on the faithfulness of God.

When we lay our head on the pillow at night, God still works. When we carry out our daily duties and entrust our unfulfilled desires to God, He carries out His plan for us. When we cease striving because we know He is God, He steps up and shows us that He truly is God.

It's important to plant seeds of faith in the soil of your heart. It's important to sow seeds in the lives of others. It's important not to forget that God's promises are true for you and for those you touch every day. And how wonderful to know that as you entrust your whole life to Him (as well as the countless seeds you sow), He is working and continues to work on your behalf.

Jesus is an active and engaged God and He does His best work on behalf of a restful heart. Rest in Him. He's fully invested in you.

~Until next week.

 

January 25, 2012

Your Presence...

Hipstamatic Dock and BoatGreetings, Friends!

And to those visiting, I say welcome! Susie Larson here...

I post every Wednesday and my sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way. Each month I give away a $10.00 Starbucks gift card to someone who posts on my blog. So share an insight, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and a friend. And, I LOVE it when you encourage each other on this blog! So please feel free to post a word of encouragement when you feel so inspired.

Now on to my topic:

I've been praying about what to share with you today and the thing that's most on my heart is the whole idea of presence.

As I walk through the grieving process, I find myself remembering certain things about my dad I never realized I'd treasure so much. I remember sitting on the couch, working on my homework and having my dad walk into the living room, put on an Elvis Presley or Andy Williams album. He'd take me by the hand and stand me up so I could dance with him. We'd sway back and forth and he'd twirl me a time or two. We'd giggle, then minutes later, I'd sit back down to do my homework.

The reason scripture says that it's better to go to a house of mourning than a house where there's a party is because losing a loved one causes you remember what's important: people and God. When you go to a party, the mentality is "consume now, pay later."

It's a gift to remember how brief life is. It's a precious treasure to remember that life is a gift, and that the more we love, the less we'll have to regret.

What can we give others so they will know God's love? We give them our attentive presence. We look them in the eyes. We love them right where they live. And we point them to the Truth of God's love. We refuse the curse of a hurried, skim-the-surface kind of life. And we determine to send our roots down into the soil of God's marvelous love, so we'll have plenty to give to those we meet along the way.

May we determine to be present with those God puts in our presence. May we be so in tune with the Father's love that they can easily grasp how wonderfully He loves them.

And may we ourselves, camp long in God's presence; long enough to remember that He adores us with an ever lasting love. He offers us the riches of His love and every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm (See Ephesians 1). He invites us into His presence that He may impart more of Himself to us.

We have access to God's powerful presence because of Christ's victory on the cross. We can walk in His presence as we live here on earth (See Psalm 116:9). He is an ever present help in times of trouble; fully engaged with us every step of the way. He laughs when we're funny, and aches for us when we believe a lie. He always has our best interest at heart and He makes a way when there seems to be no way.

Scripture says in Psalm 16:11 ~ In Your presence the FULLNESS OF JOY is found. Think about that for a moment: in the Lord's presence, we find spilling over joy, an abundance of peace, and everything good.

We tend to make everything a task, but it doesn't have to be that way. The sacred moments are those that compel us to celebrate life, to embrace God's greatness, and to be in awe of His goodness. God's great gift to us is His attentive presence. He breathes life into our weary soul that we may live full and powerful lives. 

May we be as present with those we love.

On the day of my dad's burial service, my boys, my daughter in law, my husband, and I scurried around the house to get ready for the service. We pressed our clothes, the guys straightened their ties, the mood felt somber. Suddenly, my oldest son Jake flipped open his laptop and played a bebop 'dance with me' song by a British girl band. The fun upbeat song instantly changed our mood. In a matter of seconds, we  were dancing around the kitchen, clapping to the beat, and celebrating life. God gave me that wonderful moment with my sons and hubby, right in the middle of a painful day, and I'll always cherish it.

Maybe you celebrate life in a different way. No matter; may your sacred moments not escape your notice. May they not get away from you before you've had a chance to embrace them, enjoy them, and thank God for them.

May we all live constantly aware of God's presence in our midst. May we give others (especially our husbands and children) the gift our presence. And may we splash in pools of blessing right in the midst of our very important and busy days.

Sieze those sacred moments because those are the ones you'll remember.

~Until next week.

January 18, 2012

Believe the Best...

Glorious MorningHappy Wednesday, Everyone!  Susie Larson here...

And to those visiting, I say welcome! I post every Wednesday and my sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way.

Each month I give away a $10.00 Starbucks gift card to someone who posts on my blog.  So leave a post, share an insight or story, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and friend! 

Now, on to my topic...

We all go through seasons in life when we feel especially vulnerable and our insecurities feel close to the surface. During such times it's easy to misread people and situations. 

A trusted friend suddenly seems disloyal and distant. A co-worker pulls back and seems to be spending time with someone who doesn't like you. You walk into church and nobody seems interested in talking to you. Your pastor walks right by without noticing you. You no longer feel like you have your boss's favor.

When one or more of these scenarios happens in a short amount of time, it's easy to connect the dots, draw certain conclusions, and then react accordingly. Just recently I talked with someone who had a number of 'dots' out there. He had some legitimate reason for concern, but deep in his soul, he sensed that God was telling him to believe the best about others, not to jump to conclusions, and to continue on with doing the right thing.

His response was exactly right and at the end of the day, the little mishaps fizzled to nothing. Imagine if he would have taken the bait, gotten big and reactionary with his friends and co-workers, and stepped out of the authority and assurance that he had in Christ Jesus. 

We may have some real 'dots' out there, just begging to be connected, but that doesn't mean that the picture actually exists or is an accurate one. We need the mind of Christ not to draw wrong conclusions.

From now on, we regard no one from a worldly point of view (2 Corinthians 5:16).

I cringe when I think of how many times I assumed people had bad motives when they didn't, or I assumed they we're mad when they weren't. Thankfully, many of those times, I kept my feelings to myself and brought them before God and found my footing once again. Interestingly enough though, I learned that in many of those situations, those people we're enduring their own struggles and would have greatly benefited from an extra dose of grace and love (which comes out of fullness; reactions, on the other hand, come out of emptiness).

We all tend to misread people and situations when something in them resembles a past painful experience for us. We must take responsibility for our actions and reactions, and we must pursue deep inner healing so that our past no longer has the power to diminish our current perspective and relationships.

Remember too, the enemy overplays his hand when it comes to our unhealed areas. He prowls around, just looking for an opportunity to magnify a problem or skew a perspective. His goal is to get our eyes off of God and onto our fears and hang ups. He wants our past to keep speaking to us. He wants our wounds to perpetuate themselves. And he wants us stuck in the prison of an earthbound perspective.

You've probably heard me say this before, or read it in one of my books, but it bears repeating. If the devil can get us to live in reaction to our circumstances rather than in response to God, well, then, he has succeeded at stealing our joy and robbing us of the abundant life to which our souls are heir. 

Determine to believe the best in others this week. Even if their motives are off, you stay in the shelter of the Most High God and declare, My salvation and honor depend on God alone. HE is my mighty rock and refuge (Psalm 62:7). Determine too, to believe the best about God. He has your best interest at heart every single day. Even if your circumstances scream something different, refuse to draw a conclusion that disregards God's promises to you.

For the Believer, the only conclusion that matters is the one God has come to regarding us. We are worth everything to Him. We are loved, called, equipped, and chosen. We have everything we need and then some.

Have a blessed week~

 

January 11, 2012

Redefine Your Circumstances...

Burning sunrise

Happy Wednesday, Friends!

And to those visiting, I say welcome! Susie Larson here...

I post every Wednesday and my sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way. Each month I give away a $10.00 Starbucks gift card to someone who posts on my blog. So share an insight, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and a friend.

Now on to my topic...

Many of you know that my dad passed away last week. We're still reeling from the suddenness of it all, but we know he's with Jesus and for that, we're eternally grateful. My dad dealt with numerous health issues and rarely felt well, but that's not what all of his grandkids will remember about him. When they think of their grandpa they'll remember how funny and snarky he was, how much he loved them, and how important they were to him. When the grandkids were around, my dad focused on them, not on his suffering, which to me, was incredibly heroic of him.

When Jesus suffered on the cross, His thoughts were on those He came to save. Because of the joy set before Him (you and me), He endured the cross and scorned it's shame (see Hebrews 12). He could have complained about His immense, unfathomable pain, He could have shouted, "To hell with you all! You're not worth it!" But He did the exact opposite. He embraced our worth. He cherished the thought of us in Heaven with Him. The whole idea of eternity with us kept Him going. Thank you, Jesus.

Jesus came to save us, and in the process, He redefined the cross. Crucifixion was a horrific, public, painful humilation. It was the worst way to die, in pain, shame, and dishonor.

Jesus, our perfect, sinless, spotless Lamb, brought honor and dignity to the cross. He offered salvation to a lost and dying world, through the worst it had to offer, death on the cross. He triumphed over death on the cross that we might live free and powerful lives.

Even the way He lived redefined "religion" and challenged the religious legalist. They didn't know what to make of Him. Jesus just would not be bound by traditions and laws that boxed in His love and concern for those who needed Him. 

When Jesus freely shared a meal with those the world despised, the scribes hated Him for it. Because Jesus lived and breathed love, honor, and dignity, He redefined every circumstance in His midst. Read what William MacDonald wrote regarding Jesus' meal with the tax collectors:

"The scribes thought they would ruin the Lord's reputation by calling Him a friend of sinners. But their intended insult has become an endearing tribute. All the redeemed gladly acknowledge Him as the friend of sinners, and will love Him eternally for it."  (Believer's Commentary)

If you have surrendered your life to Christ and have accepted His sacrifice on the cross for your sins, you now live with the power and influence of Almighty God at work in and through you! You can bring dignity and honor to every situation. No person, no circumstance, so accusation can diminish your worth. No loss, no rejection, no misstep can separate you from God's love.

If you're walking through an especially difficult time right now, look up. Your circumstances do not define you. God does and has and you're worth everything to Him. Bring dignity and honor to your struggle with finances; bring holiness and humble confidence to your battle with health issues; bring power and influence to the pain of your broken relationships. Redefine your circumstances. You can because Jesus turned the tables on the enemy and won. The same power alive in Him is now alive in you. Overwhelming victory is yours! Walk forward with holy confidence.

~Until next week.